Highlights of the July 10, 2023, Board of Commissioners Meeting


Did you miss the Wake County Board of Commissioners’ meeting on Monday, July 10? Here are the highlights:

  • Middle Creek High School Student Emily Pirhalla spoke to the commissioners about how they can include teenagers in their outreach work. She is one of three youth delegates from Wake County 4-H clubs who will represent the county in August at YouthVoice, a part of the North Carolina Association of County Commissioners’ Annual Conference that allows the next generation of leaders to connect with county commissioners.

  • On the regular agenda, Health and Human Services Director Nannette Bowler updated the board on the county’s plans to prepare for Medicaid expansion, pending state budget approval and federal review. The department estimates that the expansion will make 40,000 to 60,000 additional Wake County residents newly eligible for Medicaid benefits. That will drastically increase the number of applications staff process every month. Bowler noted that historically about half of Medicaid applications processed are approved, but that processing times are the same for all applications regardless; that could mean about 4,167 additional applications per month in Wake County, on top of the current rate of 4,300 to 7,800 applications a month. In addition to monitoring state and federal requirements, improving staff training, and participating in a state pilot program, Wake staff are proposed adding 74 new positions to help process the influx of Medicaid applications over the next several years. The Board of Commissioners unanimously approved funding the HHS plan to hire and train staff to accommodate Medicaid expansion, and several praised the news saying it will drastically improve the health and quality of life for thousands of Wake residents. The presentation and details about Wake County’s Medicaid expansion plans are available online.

  • During a Manager’s Report, Deputy County Manager Duane Holder updated the board on the Wake County Continuum of Care (CoC), a collective of organizations that provide housing and services to people who are at risk of or are experiencing homelessness, governed by an independent board. The CoC Governance Board has notified the Raleigh Wake Partnership to End and Prevent Homelessness (RWP) of its plans to identify a new entity to serve as Lead Agency, Collaborative Applicant, HMIS Administrator, and Coordinated Access System Lead. The new entity would be responsible for carrying out the administrative activities of the Wake CoC, and Wake County will assume responsibilities and functions in the interim. The presentation included a timeline of communication between the RWP and the CoC board. Holder told the board that staff expects to have additional information available at the August 14 board work session on how Wake will fill the role, particularly how it will run the “front door,” the Access Hub, which helps get people connected to the right services. The CoC board is currently looking at options with partner agencies to see how to get residents services more quickly during this time of transition. The full presentation on the changes in Wake County’s homelessness services and Continuum of Care responsibilities is available online.

  • In an additional Manager’s Report, County Manager David Ellis updated the board on WakeBrook Behavioral Health Facility in Raleigh. He reported that after months of negotiations, Wake County has unfortunately not been able to reach an agreement with UNC Health to provide ongoing services at WakeBrook beyond Fiscal Year 2024. Ellis said that as a result, UNC Health will discontinue all services at WakeBrook by Sept. 30, due in part to staffing concerns. He said the county and its partner Alliance Health are currently in negotiations with a new provider to continue similar services at WakeBrook as soon as possible. Wake County HHS is also working with partners, including Alliance Health and WakeMed, to work toward continuity of care for patients. “Our priority is to maintain services at WakeBrook where possible and resume disrupted services as quickly as we can,” Ellis said. WakeBrook’s services include including detoxification for drugs and alcohol, crisis support, and inpatient psychiatric services. Ellis noted that Wake County commissioned a report on the area’s behavioral health care and received a detailed report from consultants earlier this year, including action items to create a behavioral health crisis system. More details about the WakeBrook contract negotiations and efforts to continue services are available online.

Want to dig deeper into the board meeting? The full recording of the meeting is available to watch online, with the meeting called to order at the 38:00 mark.

The Wake County Board of Commissioners’ next regular meeting will be Monday, Aug. 21 at 2 p.m. in Room 2700 of the Wake County Justice Center.

Board Meeting